Saturday, May 23, 2015

Exploring Copenhagen - Day 1

Today was our first free day in Copenhagen, and we had the opportunity to explore the city as we pleased. We had different experiences, but we all loved touring the city. I've recorded what my small group did throughout the day to give an idea of what Copenhagen is like.
Today was our first free day in Copenhagen, and we were allowed to explore the city as we pleased. This meant that everyone's experiences differed, but I will record my own activities of the day.

I started off my day with an early morning walk to the famous Nyhavn to see the colorful row houses and old wooden ships lining the canals of Copenhagen. This site is often used to depict the city on tourist materials and postcards.

The view of the canal on Nyhavn.

I returned to the hostel for breakfast before heading out for a canal tour with other members of the group.

The canal tour provided us with a wonderful preview of the city in addition to giving us a list of possible sites to more closely inspect after the tour. Among the sites we saw from the tour were Frederik's Church (also known as the Marble Church), the Church of Our Saviour, and the famous Little Mermaid statue.

Frederik's Church
View of Frederik's Church from the canal.

Spire of the Church of Our Saviour
The spire of the Church of Our Saviour.

The Little Mermaid
A view of the Little Mermaid.

After the tour, we continued to explore the city. We started with Frederick's Church and the nearby Amalienborg Palace, which is the winter home of the Danish Royal family.

Changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace
The changing of the guard at Amalienborg.

Frederik's Church - close
The famous exterior of Frederik's Church.

Frederik's Church - Sanctuary
The sanctuary of the church.

After lunch we made a trip over to the Church of Our Saviour and started the long climb up to the top of the spire. There are 400 steps to the top, 100 of which are outside on a helical staircase that climbs the exterior of the structure.

While the climb is lengthy and can be terrifying for the acrophobes among us, the views at the top are worth braving the ascent. From a height of 90 meters (300 feet), all of Copenhagen (and a glimpse of Sweden) is visible from the top.

View of Copenhagen from the Spire of the Church of Our Saviour
View of Copenhagen from the Church of Our Saviour.

After the Church of Our Savior, we took a break to grab dinner and rest our feet before heading out to Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world (built in 1843) and one of the most popular.

Walt Disney was inspired to build the famous Disney amusement parks after being impressed by a visit to Tivoli Gardens, and he attempted to emulate the atmosphere of Tivoli at his own parks.

Having visited a Disney amusement park before, I would say that Tivoli is more relaxed. Its age also gives a rich variety to the decorations and attractions, some being visibly modern and others being noticeably antique, which adds a character to the park that Disney simply can't reproduce.

Gate to Tivoli
The gate to Tivoli Gardens.

The Open Air Stage
The Open Air Stage.

Bridge in Tivoli
A bridge exemplifying the liberal use of colorful lights in Tivoli.

Overall, today was an amazing introduction to Copenhagen. The members of my small group were all very impressed by its storied history, grand architecture, and easygoing, welcoming atmosphere. Copenhagen maintained the relaxed feel of Reykjavik but had more to offer in the way of museums and other tourist attractions.

We can't wait for our second day of touring tomorrow!